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From engineering student to technical consultant – Meet Casper

Written by Steven Geelen on 7 May 2019 for Tech Graduates

Let’s meet Casper Vranken, a 22-year old who is really interested in traveling and exploring other cultures, he’s a great communicator and an awesome programmer. Coincidence or not, those three things are now part of his job as a Technical Consultant at Swift. So basically, he’s getting paid for doing what he loves, lucky him! Time to ask Casper about the experiences he’s gained at his dream job so far.

Casper’s Specs

  • 22 years old
  • Master in Industrial Engineering Technology at UHasselt
  • Completed his master’s dissertation in Finland
  • Loves bouldering, jogging and going for long walks with his labrador, Balou
  • Technical Consultant at Swift since September 2018

Hi Casper, can you tell us how you found Exellys after graduating?

During my studies, I attended a panel discussion where Exellys was telling us about what we could expect from our first job, how to apply for jobs and what the possibilities were in the IT landscape. Afterwards, I went to talk with Penny, Exellys’ Recruitment Manager, and she invited me over for a first conversation at the Exellys office.

Did you already focus on one of the jobs mentioned on the Exellys vacancy page?

I had already looked up some of the vacancies, but I didn’t know any of the clients, except for ING Belgium, which seemed like a pretty nice reference. The biggest reason for choosing Exellys after I graduated, was because of the large amount of job offers in different sectors. I really felt like I would be free to make a decent choice at the start of my career. But I also knew that, later on, if, in any case my first job wouldn’t have been satisfying enough, Exellys would help me find another great opportunity that would fit me even better.

What was your first interview like?

The first interview didn’t feel forced or difficult at all. It was more like a casual talk, just like the one we’re having right now (laughs). That’s what convinced me even more to come back for the second and third round.

We’re glad you came back! How did you experience the tests in the second stage? Did they go as expected?

I found the technical tests very abstract. There was a test with pattern finding and multiple choice and a logical reasoning test. The purpose of these tests was to indicate how fast I would be able to learn a new object-oriented programming language. I wouldn’t say they were difficult, because you know there is no wrong answer.

From engineering student to technical consultant – Meet Casper - blogpost cover Casper during his talk at the Exellys Meeting of the Minds in December.

The personality test, however, did challenge me more. There are a lot of questions that make you dig quite deep into yourself. You really have to know yourself, and if you don’t, you definitely will after the conversations that follow up that test, which is super valuable!

Why did you decide to start at Swift?

It was mainly the job itself that interested me tremendously. But besides the job description, I also wanted it to be a personal match. At the start of the first interview at Swift, the tone was rather formal. We talked about motivation, education and grades, but towards the end I started making jokes with the person who is now my manager. So that really reassured me and won me over to start my career at Swift.

Can you explain us in a few words what your job as a Technical Consultant entails?

As a Technical Consultant I visit clients, examine their programming systems and find out what they need or what could help them work more efficiently. Then I have to program those new systems and install them onto the client’s system, which mostly requires me to work on their location.

To sum up, I have to talk a lot, travel a lot and program a lot. Which happen to be the three things that I was hoping to find in my first job. I know I would never be able to thrive in a purely ‘programming environment’. I do need my daily social interaction, so this combination in my current job at Swift is basically ideal for me.

From engineering student to technical consultant – Meet Casper - blogpost cover

That worked out quite nicely! What other aspects do you love about your job?

I really like the variation. At the moment, I’m responsible for small projects, that run up to three months. But in a year from now, I’m meant to manage larger projects on my own, so I appreciate that Swift really trusts me in this process. This also means that I can look forward to new clients and challenges all the time.

Also, our team is awesome. I can always ask for feedback and there’s always someone willing to answer any question I stumble upon.

Sounds nice! You mentioned traveling before, please tell us about your most recent trip to Dubai.

Actually, I was very lucky to go on the trip, because it wasn’t directly linked to one of our projects. Two new Swift employees were starting in Dubai and because I had recently followed an internal course, I could teach them about our way of working. But since I am fairly new at the company, there are still things for me to learn too. So one of my colleagues, who works in Dubai, taught the second part both to me and the two new team members.

A win-win situation where I learned a lot, got to practice my training skills and visited Dubai during my day off.

How did those trainings go? Did you notice cultural differences with the Dubai team?

There is actually a really internationally oriented approach within the entire Swift team. So even though I had to train someone from India, I didn’t notice any difficulties or cultural differences right away. And the colleague who had moved to Dubai, used to live in Brussels.

From engineering student to technical consultant – Meet Casper - blogpost cover

When communicating with international clients, on the other hand, time barriers are often more of a problem than cultural differences. For example, there is one client located in Singapore, so our briefings are mostly scheduled very early for me, and very late for them.

Did any trainings at Exellys prepared you for these kinds of situations?

I haven’t followed any trainings on working with different cultural mindsets yet, but I did follow some several other courses at Exellys. I already took an Agile training, which focuses on project management, the Prince2 training and several trainings that focus on communication, such as ‘Effective communication & team collaboration with Insights’.

I really benefitted from those extra communications trainings, both at work but even more so in my personal environment. So it’s nice that Exellys kind of makes me a better person in all aspects of my life. In the future, I’m definitely going to take a sales orientated training. I want to elaborate my sales skills because I have to present and sell my projects to clients all the time, and even more in the future, so I’d like to become better at it.

From engineering student to technical consultant – Meet Casper - blogpost cover

Exciting times ahead! Do you have any last words for students who want to find a first job that excites them from day one?

I would advise future-graduates to go out and talk to as many people as possible and go to as many interviews as possible. That’s the only way to find out what really drives you, and what doesn’t. It’s just not enough to scroll on a company’s website, you really have to talk to the people behind the screen you’re staring at in order to feel if there is a connection.

Thanks for the chat Casper!

Has Casper’s story sparked your interest? Did you recently graduate or do you have no more than 3 years of working experience? Exellys is always on the lookout for young and ambitious tech talent, so let’s talk! Visit our brand-new website or directly go to our job page. And who knows what’s next. You might even find yourself on a plane to Dubai one day.

From engineering student to technical consultant – Meet Casper
Written by Steven Geelen Talent Development Manager